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Thursday, 13 September 2018 - Strasbourg
July 2018 fires at Mati in the Attica Region, Greece and the EU response

European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2018 on the July 2018 fires in Mati in the Attica region of Greece and the EU’s response (2018/2847(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (COM(2017)0772),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(1),

–  having regard to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, adopted through Decision 1/CP.21 at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 21) and 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 Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the July 2018 fires in Mati in the Attica region of Greece tragically left 99 dead and hundreds injured;

B.  whereas the fires in question have destroyed homes, with several hundred people having to be evacuated, severely damaged local and regional infrastructure and the environment, with an impact on agriculture, and affected economic activities, including in the tourism and hospitality sectors;

C.  whereas situations of extreme drought and forest fires have increased in frequency, severity and complexity and have an impact all over Europe, and are exacerbated by climate change;

D.  whereas investment in combating climate change is an urgent measure in preventing the catastrophes of droughts and fires;

E.  whereas Greece, Sweden and Latvia all requested EU support through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism in the summer of 2018 due to fires;

1.  Expresses its sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the fires in the Attica region;

2.  Expresses its sympathy to all the inhabitants who have been affected by the fires in the Attica region;

3.  Pays tribute to the dedication of the firefighters, coastguards, volunteers and others who risked their lives to extinguish the wildfires and rescue their fellow citizens;

4.  Highlights the role of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism in supplying aircraft, vehicles, medical personnel and firefighters from across the European Union;

5.  Recalls that various EU funds, such as the EU Solidarity Fund, can be used to restore vital infrastructure and for clean-up operations after a natural disaster;

6.  Reiterates the importance of support under EU cohesion funds for fire prevention and emergency response and calls on the Member States to take full advantage of this funding and to inform the public about the risk of forest fires;

7.  Stresses the need for more scientific research in risk assessment mechanisms, prevention and early detection systems and other means of combating these phenomena, and for improved sharing of experiences and best practices among regions and Member States;

8.  Stresses that a document published by the World Meteorological Organisation on 1 August 2018(2) provides 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 will meet the commitments made under the Paris COP 21 agreement;

9.  Stresses the need to ensure flood prevention in the areas affected by forest fires in order to avoid further disasters;

10.  Calls on the Commission to take account of forest fire risk and ecosystem-based forest and landscape management when evaluating current EU measures such as the EU forest strategy and the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change, and to adjust these strategies if any gaps are identified;

11.  Calls for the Council and the Commission to finalise with Parliament the interinstitutional negotiations on the new Union Civil Protection Mechanism and the creation of rescEU by the end of 2018;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Committee of the Regions, the governments of the Member States and the regional authorities of the areas affected by the fires.

(1) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.

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