EU financing purchase of new firefighting planes with €600m

ZAGREB, 25 March (Hina) – The European Commission is financing the purchase of 12 new firefighting planes with €600 million that will be hosted in six member states: Croatia, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, the Commission announced on Monday.

The planes will be used to put out fires across the European Union, particularly during the summer months when large-scale forest fires increasingly threaten lives, homes and livelihoods.

Five years ago, the European Commission upgraded the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and established the rescEU system including a fleet of firefighting planes and helicopters.

The EU aims to establish a permanent firefighting fleet, and in the meantime, until this permanent fleet becomes operational, the aircraft of the member states are used and the EU budget bears the operational costs.

EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič  is in Zagreb on Monday to attend the signature ceremony of the agreement between the Croatian government and the Canadian Commercial Corporation to purchase firefighting aircraft. The Greek government signed a similar agreement on Sunday.

Lenarčič  congratulated Croatia and Greece for being the first to sign the agreements to purchase the aircraft which will form a new generation of European firefighting aerial capacity.

He said this was an important step to acquiring the aircraft that would help protect citizens not just in Croatia and Greece, but across Europe.