Bulgaria to Tap EU Funding to Buy Firefighting Equipment

Bulgaria in EU | July 9, 2012, Monday // 20:40|  views

A tough wildfire struck the Bistrishko Branishte natural reserve in the Vitosha Mountain on July 1. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's government plans to apply for EU funding to purchase new new firefighting equipment, according to EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

"We need more equipment and we also need a countrywide voluntary service of the kind that already exists at the Sofia Municipality. We must continue our work in a European context, meaning that we must be able to count on assistance and to absorb assistance easily and swiftly, whenever this is necessary," the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response explained Monday.

Bulgaria's EU Commissioner, as cited by Mediapool, told journalists that she had discussed the floods and fires that gripped Europe this summer with EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn.

Georgieva announced that Commissioner Hahn had vowed to "respond positively" to a request by Bulgaria for EU funding for boosting its capacity to fight forest fires.

Georgieva further said that the accusations voiced by a number of volunteers of organizational failures in the firefighting operation in the Vitosha Mountain had been '"superficial."

On July 1, a forest fire erupted in the Bistrishko Branishte natural reserve in the Vitosha Mountain near the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Hundreds of firemen and volunteers took part in the efforts to extinguish the fire, working round-the-clock in a very difficult to access area.

About 200 decares of forests and other vegetation burned out.

On Monday, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov announced that the fire had been fully contained, with 90 experts still working on the site.

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Tags: wildfire, Vitosha mountain, Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner, Bulgarian EU Commissioner, crisis response, humanitarian aid, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, EU funding, regional policy, Johannes Hahn, fire-fighters


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