Greece to ask EU for financial support after fires: Commission

The Greek government intends to ask the European Union for financial support in the wake of the forest fires which ravaged the country at the weekend, EU officials confirmed Wednesday.

Greece to ask EU for financial support after fires: Commission
The Greek government intends to ask the European Union for financial support in the wake of the forest fires which ravaged the country at the weekend, EU officials confirmed Wednesday.

"The Greek government will put forward a request (for financial assistance) from the EU's solidarity fund," a European Commission spokeswoman told journalists. The process whereby funds are released can take up to eight months, she added.

Greece has been severely hit by forest fires this summer, with an area of 1,840 square kilometres burned over the last weekend alone.

EU states were quick to send help to the Mediterranean country, with France and Italy, among others, sending water-bombing Canadair aircraft and firefighters.

But some of those states have requested compensation for their help, EC officials said.

And on Wednesday morning the Athens-based business daily Imerisia quoted Greek finance ministry officials as saying that the fires had caused up to 5 billion euro (6.82 billion dollars) of damage.

The solidarity fund was established in 2002 to support EU members who have suffered from natural disasters. A country can ask for its help when the damage from a disaster exceeds 0.6 per cent of gross national income (GNI), or 1.06 billion euro in the case of Greece.

DPA
Last Mod: 29 Ağustos 2007, 16:57
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