Portuguese MEPs insisted today on the need for more investment from the European Union (EU) for the prevention of natural disasters and dramatized that catastrophic weather phenomena are already everyday life for European citizens.
“Every year we lament the fires, the drought, the deaths, the floods,” began Social Democrat José Manuel Fernandes, who is part of the European People’s Party (EPP) political family, during a debate in the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg on the prevention of disasters such as heatwaves, floods and forest fires.
“More than words,” the MEP continued, actions are needed and the 27 “are not doing their job”: “We don’t lack money, you have storms of millions.”
He went on to criticize the Socialist government in Portugal for rejecting “8.3 billion euros for the loans part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan [PRR] that could have been used”, in José Manuel Fernandes’ view, for “forestry planning, helping the rural world” and preparing for periods of drought with aid for irrigation.
Despite criticism of national political decisions, there seems to be a consensus on this issue at European level.
Socialist MEP Sara Cerdas, of the Social Democrats (S&D), called for “greater preparation” among the 27 and “more effective responses” to minimize the consequences of increasingly severe weather phenomena.
“Extreme heatwaves, floods, forest fires are already part of our daily lives,” so he called for more action, fast.
Communist MEP João Pimenta Lopes, who belongs to the Left in the EP, said the lack of appropriate funding and “support for disaster prevention” had consequences for the majority of EU citizens.
“Instead, we see the reduction or detour of cohesion funds and other funds to feed the profits, among others, of the energy and arms groups,” he added.
Much of the territory of European Union countries has been hit by extreme weather events in recent years. In the last four months, for example, there have been heatwaves all over the EU, floods and large-scale forest fires that have destroyed homes and caused casualties.