French-Greek disaster force

A team of French and Greek fire experts will begin discussing a joint reaction force to tackle natural disasters in the region by the end of the year, the director of France’s civil protection agency told Kathimerini yesterday. Henri Masse, visiting Athens, is proposing the creation of a «working group» comprising high-ranking members of Greece’s special fire service, EMAK, and France’s equivalent, Brignole, to tackle fires and other natural disasters in both countries and further afield. If the project works, it could become the model for a future European fire service, Masse said. Masse attributed the scale of the August fires in Greece to a «lack of central planning.» Greece can learn from the experience in France – where the civil protection agency has the central supervisory role for crisis management – but the French can also learn from Greece, Masse said. «What happened this year in Greece will happen in France over the next years,» he said. According to sources, Greece and France will share their countries’ fleets of water-dropping aircraft and pilots will receive joint training.