The Minister of Home Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said on 23rd November  that Civil Protection reinforcement measure created by the European Union, “responds to the needs identified by Portugal” and the country is “in full harmony” with the measures.

At a press conference in Lisbon announcing the strengthening the resources of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, the Minister said that this reinforcement “is more proof of solidarity among the Member States and is a determining factor for the consolidation of a Europe that protects and defends its citizens and assets’.

The new program has an allocation of € 280 million by 2020, of which € 230 million is for the creation of a structure that the European Union does not yet have, and € 50 million for ‘forest fire prevention and preparedness measures and other incidents of civil protection. ”

The European Union will create a reserve of its own Civil Protection resources, such as firefighting aircraft, field hospitals and water pumps, among other medium-sized technicians, to deal with disasters such as fires in Portugal.

Eduardo Cabrita welcomed the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, for “this initiative that responds to the needs identified by Portugal” and that is in “full harmony” with the measures approved by the extraordinary Council of Ministers of October 21.

The Minister also said that ‘this new response is complementary to the operational arrangements of each Member State, strengthening and boosting Europe’s ability to effectively address and respond to natural disasters’.

“We are talking, on the one hand, of creating a European-level rescue system to improve the response available in the European Union and investment in the areas of disaster prevention and response,” he added.

The new EU proposal also includes a set of new support for Member States, such as co-financing up to 75% of each country’s improved operational response.

The Minister of Home Affairs will meet with EU civil protection commissioner Christos Stylianides early December to find “the best way for Portugal to integrate and actively participate in this reinforcement”.

“We will discuss how to benefit, both in the pillar of the support mechanism and in the pillar for the prevention of these new programs, and the possibility of Portugal participating in the European effort,” he said.

The European mechanism will now be available to all European Union countries, which will be able to ‘request their complementary intervention when there are significant occurrences’, such as fires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or epidemics.