Civil protection: Germany participates in the EU fleet of fire-fighting aircraft


civil protection
Germany participates in the EU fleet of fire-fighting aircraft

An Italian fire-fighting aircraft fights a forest fire on the Brocken.  Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa

An Italian fire-fighting aircraft fights a forest fire on the Brocken. photo

© Julian Stratenschulte/dpa

Brandenburg, Saxon Switzerland and most recently the Harz mountains: this summer there were repeated forest fires. That is why Germany wants to invest more in civil protection.

Germany should be better armed against forest fires like recently in the Harz mountains. Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) said in Hanover that 44 new helicopters are currently being procured for the federal police, which have a large capacity of 3,000 liters for extinguishing water. In addition, Germany would be happy to join the EU program RescEU.

"This is a program that we, the federal government, are already giving a lot of financial support to," she said SPD-Politician. "We are therefore glad that Lower Saxony has now called off the two aircraft from this program. We would like to join it."

Two Italian firefighting planes helped fight the fire on the Brocken in the Harz Mountains in early September. The request for support went through Brussels - as part of the EUproject, firefighters can also be sent to other EU countries if they are not needed in their own country.

Forest fires demand reiterated in the summer

Fires could be extinguished selectively with helicopters firefighting aircraft spread large burning areas with water, said Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD). Depending on the duration and size of a fire, you need both. Therefore, a location for fire-fighting aircraft north of the Alps makes sense. In view of the large number of forest and wildfires, the FDP and the Greens at federal level had already called for participation in the EU fleet in July.

For 2022, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Sweden have put together twelve firefighting planes and one helicopter that are available to other member states in an emergency, according to the EU program's website. According to this, more firefighting aircraft are to be added in the future.

Faeser met her colleagues from the federal states in Hanover for a so-called A conference of interior ministers. The SPD interior ministers and senators from Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate were involved. Berlin and the Saarland were represented by state secretaries.

The spokesman for the Union-led interior ministries (B-side), Hesse's Minister Peter Beuth (CDU), criticized: "The fact that participation in an EU fleet for fire-fighting aircraft is now being announced, while massive cuts are planned in the area of ​​civil protection in this country, is just one Smoke candle, which is intended to distract from the urgently needed strengthening of civil defense in our country."

Energy shortages and inflation are also issues

The SPD representatives also discussed how energy shortages and significantly higher living costs could affect internal security in the coming months. Faeser emphasized that peaceful protest is part of democracy. However, a clear demarcation from enemies of democracy is important. "So far there have been no signs of widespread anti-state protests, but we are monitoring extremist mobilization attempts very closely," said the Interior Minister.

Other topics of the conference were the recognition and appreciation of police officers and firefighters, for example in the form of hardship allowances for employees who have to look at images of sexualized violence against children.

dpa



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