Nikos Hardalias

Greece’s General Secretary of Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias held a special event to honour firefighting crews from Italy and Spain for their contribution during the recent fires.

During the event, Hardalias thanked the firefighters for their efforts in the firefighting operation in Evia and acknowledged the importance that the programme rescEU of the European Civil Protection mechanism played.

“Your contribution constitutes a tangible proof of the common European values as the European solidarity and the protection of the lives and assets of the European citizens” said Hardalias.

“Let me start be saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed” Hardalias said adding “It is, thus, with sincere gratitude that I present you this award, as a small token of our profound admiration, on behalf of the government of Greece and the Greek Civil Protection. Let me also highlight that you have earned the deepest esteem of the entire Greek people. Your bravery and courage inspires us all. Your abnegation proved tangibly that Italy and Spain, along with the European Union, stood in full solidarity with Greece at this difficult time. Your immediate response to Greece’s request for assistance also proved the added value of rescEU – a robust, quick and efficient mechanism to our mutual benefit. Moreover, this is a real example of our common European values: solidarity and protection of lives of all European citizens. Please, let me reiterate how thankful we are to Italy and Spain for their offers of assistance.”

In response, the chiefs of both the Italian and the Spanish teams thanked the Minister for the hospitality and expressed their admiration over the Greek pilots’ efforts and mostly over the firefighters’ efforts. 

The foreign crews were flown into Greece after the country’s request for support via the European Mechanism of Civil protection and especially through the programme rescEU.  


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