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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

After huge wildfires, Greece creates climate crisis ministry

A Cypriot citizen, Stylianides will be awarded Greek citizenship before being sworn in Friday, government spokesman Yiannis Economou said.

By: AP |
Updated: September 6, 2021 9:26:34 pm
A firefighting helicopter makes a water drop as a wildfire burns in the village of Vilia, Greece, August 18, 2021. (Reuters Photo)

Greece’s center-right government has created a new ministry to address the impact of climate change and named former European Union commissioner Christos Stylianides as minister.

Stylianides, 63, who served as commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management between 2014 and 2019, was appointed in the wake of massive wildfires that burned more than 1,000 square kilometers (385 square miles) of forest on the island of Evia and in southern Greece.

A Cypriot citizen, Stylianides will be awarded Greek citizenship before being sworn in Friday, government spokesman Yiannis Economou said.

The appointment was announced Monday after a previous candidate, former armed forces chief and defense minister Evangelos Apostolakis, withdrew, citing the lack of promised cross-party consensus for the new post.

As minister of climate crisis and civil protection, Stylianides will head firefighting, disaster relief and policies to adapt to rising temperatures resulting from climate change.

“I have accepted (the position) with the full awareness of the challenges and expectations that come with it. The consequences of climate change have overtaken us, and we must accelerate major change without delay,” Stylianides said.

“Disaster prevention and preparedness is the most effective weapon we have.”

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