The expansion of Cyprus-Greece cooperation to deal with the climate crisis, civil protection and the green transition was discussed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulides, with the Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection of Greece, Christos Stylianides, in a meeting held on Saturday morning at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cyprus.

“Today we had the opportunity to exchange views on a wide range of issues, with an emphasis on the synergies that can be achieved between the governments of Cyprus and Greece, on matters of competence”, said Kasoulides, noting that the Director of the Forestry Department also attended the meeting, along with the head of the forest firefighting pilots of Cyprus.

The Minister noted that the EU should play an essential role in coordinating and guiding the national policies of the member states, regarding these issues, especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In addition, Kasoulides said that they also examined ways of enhanced cooperation at the EU level on climate crisis and civil protection issues, while they evaluated existing European tools.

On dealing with natural disasters, “we agreed on the need to institutionalize a regional cooperation, within the framework of the tripartite mechanisms we have established with states in the region. It is a fact that dealing with natural phenomena, such as fires, floods, earthquakes and other disasters, requires timely and preventive action and requires synergies on a bilateral and multilateral level”, said the Minister, noting that Cyprus-Greece cooperation on climate crisis issues will continue in a mutually beneficial manner.

Christos Stylianides said that the meeting was fruitful and productive, noting that there is a lot to gain from intensifying the efforts of the two governments in matters of climate change, in matters of cooperation within European institutions and in regional cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He noted that Greece has already started a dialogue with the countries of the region, mentioning that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with Israel, precisely to start this regional cooperation in civil protection, but under the auspices of the European Civil Protection Mechanism and RescEU. “And this is because it primarily offers European coverage, opens up new directions and also offers financing solutions, to be honest”, he said.

In addition, he said that Greece has already become, since last year, the hub of the European Civil Protection Mechanism. He said Greece has accepted two major initiatives, the so-called prepositioning, where European firefighters were in Greece for two months and assisted the Greek firefighters “and that’s why we had the good results that appeared in a difficult fire fighting period”, as well as the provision of aerial means by RescEU and the European Mechanism in Greece to help it as a hub.

“Together, we are trying for next summer, so that Cyprus is also part of this hub, to receive the help of the European Mechanism, which will help it in a difficult, fire-fighting period”, he said.

In closing, the Minister mentioned that on Monday a new agreement will be signed between the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection of Greece and the Ministry of Justice and Public Order of Cyprus. The two firefighting services will sign an agreement to strengthen their joint efforts and find more common ground to help each other, he added

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