EU Mediterranean states demand global action on climate crisis

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ATHENS, September 17 (Reuters) – Leaders of the EU’s nine-member Southern European bloc on Friday demanded urgent global action to tackle the worsening climate crisis and build a sustainable future for the region Mediterranean.

Leaders from Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Malta, Portugal and Spain gathered in Athens to discuss climate change after devastating summer forest fires which highlighted the challenges that a warmer world poses for Southern Europe.

The Mediterranean was now suffering from “unprecedented ecological damage and the response capacities are stretched to the limit”, they said in a joint statement at the end of their meeting, joined by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen .

“Such vulnerability will increase due to the accelerating impacts of climate change in the region, resulting in welfare losses in terms of economic impacts from climate change,” the statement said.

EU scientists have said the Mediterranean has become a “forest fire hotspot” as human-induced climate change makes heat waves more likely and more severe. Read more

Greece has been hit by its most intense fires on record amid an intense heat wave this summer and in southern Italy, fires have ravaged swathes of land, while deadly flooding swept through the area. ‘Western Europe.

“The destructive fires this summer hit Greece, Italy and Cyprus particularly hard. They left no Mediterranean country unscathed, while northern Europe suffered deadly floods,” Greece’s Prime Minister said. Kyriakos Mitsotakis at a joint post-summit press conference.

“This is the strongest proof that the environmental crisis affects us all,” he said. “And since there is a common risk, our defenses should also be common.”

In Greece, hundreds of businesses and homes were set on fire, the fires crushing national civil protection and firefighting responses and forcing Greece to seek help from other EU countries.

Mediterranean countries agreed to strengthen cooperation between them in planning and prevention and called on the EU to strengthen its civil protection mechanisms to help better protect citizens and the environment against “more and more disasters. serious and complex “.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alex Richardson, William Maclean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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