EIB commits €220 million loan to Greece for enhanced flood and fire protection


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European investment in Greek disaster management

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has committed a €220 million loan to Greece aimed at bolstering the country’s defences against natural disasters, including floods, wildfires, and earthquakes.

Announced on Friday, the investment will facilitate the procurement of firefighting aircraft, drones, fire engines, rescue vehicles, and advanced control centres.

This funding is part of Greece’s multi-year ‘Aegis’ plan, designed to reinforce its civil protection mechanisms in response to the increasing frequency of climate-induced disasters.

Greece has faced a series of severe natural calamities in recent years, including catastrophic wildfires in 2017, 2018, 2021, and 2023, alongside devastating floods in September 2023.

Kyriacos Kakouris, EIB Vice-President, commented: “We have seen first-hand the devastation caused by deadly wildfires and floods in Greece in recent years.

“This support will help the country respond more quickly and effectively when disaster strikes, protect lives, and better prepare for natural disasters and pandemics.”

Government commitment to disaster readiness

The funding from EIB complements an initial loan of €375 million provided in January 2021 and marks a significant increase in the EU’s support for disaster preparedness through the EIB’s Climate Adaptation Plan.

Greek Minister Vassilis Kikilias, heading the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, stated: “When I took charge of the portfolio at the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, I pledged to the prime minister and my fellow citizens that I would implement the Aegis program as quickly as possible.

“I am proud that within a few months we have managed not only to put all of the projects to tender, but we are also progressing to the next stage, their contractualization.”

The program, expected to run until 2025, aims to overhaul Greece’s civil protection infrastructure to enable more effective responses, improve coordination at local levels, and enhance the equipment used in disaster scenarios.

Impact on European disaster management

This initiative represents the first targeted direct EIB support for civil protection and disaster preparedness in Greece and constitutes the largest amount of EIB aid allocated for such purposes in Europe.

Nikos Papathanasis, Alternate Minister of Economy and Finance, reflected on the broader implications: “Dealing with the consequences of the climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges the modern world faces.

“The destruction caused by storm ‘Daniel’ show the importance of common European policy, the effectiveness of European funds, and the part played by programs like Aegis.”

IFSJ Comment

The new €220 million loan by the European Investment Bank to Greece underscores a vital stride in enhancing Europe’s readiness against natural calamities.

As climate change continues to manifest through severe weather events, such financial and structural support is imperative for nations like Greece, frequently at the forefront of disaster impacts.

This strategic infusion of funds not only fortifies Greek civil protection but also sets a precedent for future European Union policies on disaster readiness and response.

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