Press conference by Christos Stylianides, Member of the EC, on the proposal for the creation of rescEU, a new European system to tackle natural disasters
On 23 November 2017, Christos Stylianides, Member of the EC in charge of Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, gave a press conference on the proposal for the creation of rescEU, a new European system to tackle natural disasters. The EC revealed on the same day ambitious new plans to strengthen Europe's ability to deal with natural disasters. The proposal was a central part of the agenda of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EC, of a Europe that protects. The initiative came in light of more complex and frequent natural disasters that had seriously affected many European countries over the past years. A key part of the proposal was the creation of rescEU, a reserve at European level of civil protection capabilities such as aerial forest fighting planes, special water pumps, urban search and rescue and field hospitals and emergency medical teams. These would complement national assets and would be managed by the EC in order to support countries hit by disasters such as floods, forest fires, earthquakes and epidemics. Alone in 2017, over 200 people were killed by natural disasters in Europe and over one million hectares of forest had been destroyed.