Greece’s center-right government set up a new ministry to deal with the effects of climate change and appointed former EU Commissioner Christos Stylianides as minister.
Stylianides, 63, who worked as Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management from 2014 to 2019, has been appointed in response to recent forest fires, which burned more than 1.000 square kilometers of forest, in the small island of Euboea and southern Greece.
Heavily generated heat waves in Southern Europe in July and August, which occurred in Greece at its worst in decades, have also driven deadly wildfires in Turkey and sparked flames in Italy, France and the Balkans.
His nomination came after one former candidate, Evangelos Apostolakis, the former head of the army and Minister of Defense, pulled out, citing the lack of cross-party consensus for the new post.
Stylianides will be the new minister with responsibility for firefighting, emergency response and adjustment to the effects of climate change.
A previous Hellenic Air Force chief, Gen. Evangelos Tournas, has been appointed Deputy Minister.
In July, in order to protect the inhabitants against increasing temperatures, the Greek authorities appointed Eleni Myrivili, lead climate scientist, as their leader in thermal management.
Officials acknowledged shortcomings in how resources were used to fight the fire in Tuscany, where most of the damage was generated, but also blamed climate change for continuing deterioration in weather conditions.
Οι συνέπειες της κλιματικής αλλαγής μας έχουν ξεπεράσει και πρέπει να επιταχύνουμε τις μεγάλες αλλαγές χωρίς καθυστέρηση. Η πρόληψη και η ετοιμότητα απέναντι στις φυσικές καταστροφές είναι το πιο αποτελεσματικό όπλο που έχουμε (2/2).
— Christos Stylianides (@StylianidesEU) September 6, 2021