Summer heat waves caused forest fires to scorch Europe’s Mediterranean region, causing extensive damage to Greece. Greece experienced a record-breaking heat wave within the country, causing forest fires that extended firefighter’s resources to their ultimate capacity. The island of Evia and southern parts of Greece were immensely damaged by the fire, as 1,000 sq kilometres of Greek forest land were destroyed. The Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed the fires on the increase of global temperatures.
Following massive wildfires that tormented sections of southern Europe, leaders of Europe’s Mediterranean countries held a summit in Athens to discuss climate change. This summit took place on September 17th at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. Attendees included President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of Spain, in addition to leaders and senior representatives from Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Croatia, Malta, and Portugal. “Participants reaffirmed their commitment to goals set out under the Paris accord, the worldwide global climate pact, called for closer integration of climate change policies across Europe and further cooperation within the EU’s trans-national disaster response mechanism,” Euronews stated.
Leaders pledged to broaden the joint effort of climate cooperation in opposition to environment modification. Specifically, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen affirmed the importance of taking action immediately due to the damaging impact that climate change is already having on the Mediterranean region. According to a joint statement, the leaders held a “strong conviction that urgent and ambitious global action (is needed) at national, regional and local levels,” Radio France Internationale explained.
The summit also included discussions on the crisis in Afghanistan and immigration policies, as Greece, Malta, Italy, and Spain contain major routes for people to enter without documentation. Greece has intentions of enacting stricter regulations related to immigration by expanding border security and increasing land and sea patrols.
Sources: Euronews, Radio France Internationale Euronews