MSB to strengthen EU preparedness for forest fires with two more scooper aircraft
It has been agreed that two more Swedish scooper aircraft are to be made available for firefighting within the EU through rescEU, so Sweden now has four scooper aircraft that can assist in emergency operations both nationally and internationally.
RescEU is an extra safety net within the EU civil protection mechanism that can be used to alleviate crises when national resources are insufficient.
“We are very happy that two more scooper aircraft will become part of rescEU, part of the EU civil protection mechanism. The strength of EU cooperation is that we can use our combined resources efficiently. Sweden is part of EU preparedness in the same way that the EU is part of the Swedish plan,” says Robert Wallén, Head of Operations at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).
These two aircraft complement the two that are already rescEU resources. All four aircraft can still be used nationally when not needed on EU missions.
“When aircraft carry out missions abroad, we can compensate national preparedness by increasing the number of helicopters on standby. This allows our own firefighting preparedness to be maintained. According to the current agreement, we have access to at least ten helicopters,” says Nils Vaernholt, Head of National Operations and Civil Protection at the Agency.
Sweden has been part of rescEU since 2019. The first time these aircraft were activated internationally was in 2021 to fight the extensive forest fires that ravaged Greece during the summer. During the summer of 2022, Sweden supported both France and the Czech Republic with scooper aircraft to help fight large-scale fires. By 2023, collective EU preparedness will be strengthened by a number of new resources, including more aircraft and pre-positioned ground personnel in risk areas.
If EU countries experience severe disasters, their national resources are sometimes not enough. RescEU is an extra protection network of joint EU resources that aims to strengthen preparedness and response capacity in various types of crises, for example forest fires or pandemics.
Sweden is, through MSB, one of the countries tasked with responsibility for rescEU emergency stockpile of medical equipment. In addition, Sweden also stocks emergency housing within the rescEU framework. MSB is Sweden's contact point for the EU civil protection mechanism.
Some of the resources included in rescEU are joint EU assets and others are basically national resources. Through the coordination that takes place at EU level, these resources can be used where needs are greatest. The European Commission determines when to activate rescEU resources after a country requests support. Sweden, just like other EU countries, has the opportunity to request such support.
The EU finances these resources either totally or to a greater extent.
The project is co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of MSB only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
Latest reviewed: 31 May 2023