EU Invests €600 Million in rescEU Fleet

The European Union is pouring €600 million into fortifying its firefighting capabilities. This significant investment aims to bolster the aerial firefighting capacity of rescEU, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism's strategic crisis response reserve.

The funds will be directed towards acquiring 12 new firefighting planes. These state-of-the-art aircraft will be strategically distributed across six EU member states: Croatia, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain. This geographically dispersed deployment will enable rescEU to respond swiftly and effectively to wildfires erupting across Europe's diverse landscapes.

The decision to bolster rescEU's firefighting capacity comes amidst a growing recognition of the escalating threat posed by wildfires. Climate change has demonstrably heightened the frequency and intensity of wildfires across the continent. The scorching summer of 2023 witnessed devastating wildfires in several European countries, laying bare the vulnerability of ecosystems and communities.

The rescEU reserve has emerged as a critical instrument in the EU's response to natural disasters. Established in 2018, rescEU functions as a fully EU-funded reserve of capacities, including firefighting planes and helicopters. This centralized approach ensures a readily deployable force that can be rapidly dispatched to member states facing emergencies.

The efficacy of rescEU was demonstrably on display throughout 2023. The reserve was deployed a staggering 35 times, providing vital assistance in diverse crisis situations. rescEU firefighters played a crucial role in containing wildfires that ravaged parts of Greece and Tunisia. They also offered critical support in the aftermath of the earthquakes that struck Türkiye, as well as in mitigating the humanitarian fallout from the war in Ukraine.

The €600 million investment signifies the EU's commitment to strengthening its collective resilience against natural disasters. The enhanced firefighting fleet will empower rescEU to more effectively safeguard European citizens, ecosystems, and infrastructure from the growing threat of wildfires. This proactive approach underscores the EU's recognition of the critical role it plays in ensuring the safety and well-being of its member states in the face of escalating environmental challenges.

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