Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday called for the creation of a European Civil Protection Mechanism having its own staff, equipment and resources, during his intervention at the plenary session of the Informal European Summit in Salzburg, Austria according to government sources.

The Greek prime minister said that priority should be given to this issue in order to reach an agreement in 2018 on the creation of this mechanism, on the basis of the European Commission's proposal. This will give European citizens a clear signal of solidarity and will be an example of EU action with tangible benefits for citizens.

Tsipras noted that the European Civil Protection Mechanism will provide EU member states with more and more modern means of dealing with natural disasters, particularly those influenced by climate change (eg fires) and the means will be readily available to the states if necessary.

Greece has proposed the use of EU funds for the financing of this mechanism, because the issue has become European and now affects a large number of member-states. The prime minister also argued that this mechanism will cost far less than an EU common defence and border forces, but will be equally or more effective for European citizens.

The Greek proposal was supported a number of countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Sweden and the Netherlands.