A man at a table speaking before microphones.
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Christos Stylianides, right, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, speaking in Stockholm. Credit: Frank Radosevich/Radio Sweden
A burn-out forest.
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A scene from a July forest fire in Älvdalen municipality in Dalarana county. Credit: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT

Extreme natural disasters "new reality" for Europe, EU official says

2:40 min

EU Crisis Management Commissioner Christos Stylianides says Sweden's forest fires show that better preparedness is needed at the EU level to tackle natural disasters.

Stylianides was in Stockholm, on Monday, to meet with Swedish officials, as well as to visit some areas hit hardest by the fires.

He thanked the seven EU members states that had sent firefighters, aircraft or other equipment to combat the Swedish blazes. But he added that more coordination among members is needed to fight or prevent future emergencies.

"When we face simultaneously disasters, our current voluntary system struggles," he says.

That's why the EU Commission has proposed establishing a reserve force to help member states respond to disasters, when their own capacities are overwhelmed.

So far this summer, Sweden has dealt with dozens of forest fires that have burned an estimated 25,000 hectares. The country is still fighting eight active fires mostly in the south. 

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