France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia have signed an agreement to take a more coordinated approach in dealing with the catastrophes associated with extreme weather.
Signed in the Greek capital and known as the Athens Declaration, the agreement is intended to pool resources, particularly in fighting wildfires.
“The devastating wildfires of the summer had tragic consequences for Mediterranean countries … the climate crisis is no longer a distant threat; it has landed firmly on our shores,” Greek premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis told his counterparts assembled in Athens. “As the danger presented by this crisis is common to all of us, so must our defences be.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was also present. She said: the pact was “the right move at the right time. We all see that climate change is heavily affecting the Mediterranean region. And we need to find solutions and we can offer solutions.”
Athens is the hottest capital in Europe. In July and August temperatures exceeded 42 degrees on several days, hitting a high of 47.1. The south of France was also badly hit this summer, with several deaths and thousands of hectares burned near Saint Tropez.
FILE PHOTO: The Var fire this summer Handout