Today, the Council agreed to the extension, until the end of 2027, of a transitional measure which will allow member states to continue to benefit from EU financing to lease firefighting planes and helicopters, until a future, permanent EU firefighting fleet becomes operational.
The fight against the effects of climate change and forest fires must be a priority for the EU and its member states, as was made clear last summer. It is great news that the necessary financing has been obtained to invest in the improvement of aerial capabilities, both planes and helicopters, for firefighting,” said Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, acting Spanish minister for the interior.
The decision will now be published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will enter into force on the twentieth day following publication.
In 2019, rescEU was created as a reserve of European civil protection capacities which steps in to help member states protect citizens when disasters – such as wildfires – overwhelm the existing response capacities. These rescEU capacities will include a fleet of firefighting planes and helicopters.
To ensure a smooth transition until the full availability of the rescEU firefighting fleet, the Commission can, for a transitional period until 31 December 2024, provide financing to member states to lease firefighting planes.
Since the purchase of highly specialised aircrafts cannot be completed before the end of 2024, the transition period to lease forest fire planes and helicopters had to be extended.