Good afternoon.

rescEU has entered into force — the new legislation strengthening the Union Civil Protection.

rescEU is now a reality.

Now we have the piece that completes the puzzle.

The European system of disaster response is now:

  • Stronger.
  • More efficient.
  • And more effective.

Fit for purpose for today’s new climate change reality.

rescEU is a “safety net”.  That will be activated when national capacities are overwhelmed.

Today, rescEU goes into action.

I am pleased to announce that we are launching an initial European firefighting aircraft fleet. The first of its kind. Ready for this year’s fire season.

We are delivering on our commitment to upgrade the European civil protection system:

  • To be better prepared.
  • To be better equipped. 
  • To tackle the intensity and complexity of today’s natural disasters.

We have seen forest fires rage across Europe. From North to South, East to West.

Fires do not respect borders.

This is why our Members States joined forces and made rescEU a reality.  

This is why our Member States are coming together to implement rescEU.

Today, we make the first step.

We begin with our rescEU initial transition fleet. And as we build-up rescEU, more assets will follow.

The rescEU initial assets come on top of the existing structure of the European Civil Protection.

I would like to say a special “thank you” to Croatia, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden — the first five Member States to contribute to this rescEU initial transition fleet.

Their action is an example of tangible European solidarity. This is a good way to be an engaged member of our European family.

Dear friends,

You know well that prevention and preparedness is key to an effective response to natural disasters. Prevention is always better than cure.

Our preparedness efforts are not limited to the rescEU initial transition fleet. We are also reinforcing our monitoring and coordinating capacities in five (5) important ways:

First, our Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC), working 24/7, has been reinforced with experts from our Member States: the forest fire support team.

You will have a chance to visit the ERCC after our meeting.

Second, the ERCC is stepping-up its coordination role. The ERCC is strengthening risk assessment with participating states.  Especially during the busy fire season.

Third, we will continue providing satellite maps through our state-of-the-art Copernicus satellite system. To help prevent, monitor and respond to forest fires.  And other natural disasters.

Fourth, we have supported regular field exercises.  And training for experts and rescue teams. Especially in dealing with forest fires.  A key component for an effective response to natural disasters.

And fifth, we bolster collaboration and share best practices between member states.  As part of the newly created Knowledge Centre.

Dear friends,

rescEU is founded on three fundamental European values:

    • Solidarity.
    • Protecting European citizens. 
    • And saving lives.

rescEU will foster greater cooperation and solidarity between our Member States.  And by doing so, we are also strengthening European integration.

European citizens want — and deserve — real solutions to real problems.  They want concrete results.

rescEU delivers this.

rescEU responds to the expectations of Europeans.  And will have a direct and positive impact on their lives. 

We are just a few days before the critical European elections.  I believe rescEU sends a strong, clear message to all Europeans:

Solidarity is not an empty word. It’s tangible.  Touching real lives.

And Europe is taking action. Concrete action.  To protect our citizens.  And to save lives.

Thank you.