Greece declares war on climate change after summer fires and floods: action plan and support from the EU
Greece, known for its amazing nature and Mediterranean climate, has faced widespread natural disasters this summer. The northeastern region of Evros experienced the most devastating forest fires in the history of the European Union, killing 26 people. Floods caused by Storm Danielle soon followed, killing a further 17 people. This climate crisis has sparked intense criticism of the government.
The opposition party accuses Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of not doing enough to prevent the floods, despite previous warnings and experience from past disasters. Climate change activists have also voiced their displeasure. In response to this criticism, Mitsotakis announced his intention to take decisive measures to prevent future disasters.
To cope with the consequences of the forest fires and floods, the Greek government :
- The climate change budget will be increased to 600 million euros. These funds will be allocated from taxes on luxury hotels.
- It will introduce a 10 percent property tax rebate and mandatory insurance for medium and large enterprises. Authorities are calling for a discussion on compulsory insurance for all homes and companies.
- It will place the National Meteorological Service under the control of the Ministry of Citizens' Protection. This clause has sparked controversy, with the opposition accusing the government of trying to withhold data showing climate change.
Support from the European Union
The European Commission, headed by Ursula von der Leyen, has not been left behind: the organization 2.25 billion euros to Greece to overcome the consequences of flooding and other natural disasters. In addition, the European Commission is ready to consider Greece's request to use the Solidarity Fund, which could lead to the allocation of additional funds.
— What is important here is that member states agree to our proposal to replenish the Solidarity Fund. If this happens next year, we could allocate up to 400 million euros, Ursula von der Leyen said.
However, to fight climate change in the future, a more robust support system is needed. European MPs, in particular Terry Reintke, are calling for a system that is more flexible and effective in responding to climate challenges.
— For the future, we need to build a more sustainable support system so that when these things happen, the money can flow quickly and for its intended purpose, said Terry Reintke, Green MEP for Germany.