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EU plans to build firefighting fleet faster after summer of climate crises

Following the devastating wildfires that erupted in Europe this summer, the European Union agreed with its member countries on Monday (5 September) that it would accelerate the creation of a European fleet of firefighting aircraft.

This summer, wildfires erupted in Europe and forced thousands of people from their homes and businesses to evacuate. Climate change is causing this trend to increase. This increases heat and dry conditions that fuel fires and makes them spread faster, more intensely and last longer.

Large-scale fires can be seen in Portugal, Greece, and other countries of southern Europe during the summer. These fires also affected Germany and the Czech Republic. The fire risk has increased as a result of hotter temperatures, which have made it more difficult for countries to be prepared.

Janez Lenarcic, EU’s head of crisis management, stated Monday that the European Commission met with ministers of EU countries to discuss the possibility for an advanced purchase EU-funded Helicopters.


Lenarcic stated that “We have exceeded the European capacity limit.” Lenarcic explained how some of the massive fires that erupted in member states did not result in assistance requests, because the countries concerned knew that there was no available capacity.

Additional EU funds must be approved by the bloc in order to purchase helicopters. This request is likely to be difficult as EU countries struggle with finding money to support their citizens and industries affected by rising inflation, and to invest in energy infrastructure to eliminate Russian gas.

The EU had originally planned to buy a fleet emergency-response planes to respond to climate-related emergencies. However, production was delayed until the second quarter.


The EU’s emergency resources include co-funding and funding the deployment of 12 firefighting aircrafts, and a helicopter shared by EU members.

EU countries have the responsibility to respond to forest fires. They can also request EU assistance when required. The bloc received 11 requests for assistance this year, compared with nine in 2021.

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