“We deal effectively with the protection of those affected by natural disasters and natural disasters. We are implementing the strategic plan for the armoring of the Fire Department,” he stressed the Deputy Minister of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Evangelos Tournas supporting the relevant provisions of the amendment tabled in the Ministry of Education bill being debated in the Plenary.

Mr. Tournas said that the provisions of the draft law regulate the issue of more effective protection of those affected by acts of God and natural disasters, through the granting of the financial support which concerns, firstly, the meeting of vital needs, secondly, the carrying out of simple repair work and the replacement of damaged household goods and, thirdly, the support of persons who have suffered permanent physical damage with a disability rate of 67% and above, regardless of if they are demonstrably unable to cover the specific need with their own means or those of their family members.

Regarding the provisions of the bill for the rehiring of seasonal firefighters for 2024 who were employed in the Fire Department from the year 2019 to the year 2023, he said that it concerns 741 contracted seasonal firefighters, whose term of office ended on October 31, 2023. With these rehires, added the deputy minister, the Fire Department will cover the 2,500 positions of seasonal firefighters, according to its business plan. Given that the pool of this particular category of personnel includes an additional 1,730 who can be rehired this year’s fire season, while at the same time the way is opened to proceed with the announcement of a single competition to cover all seasonal firefighter positions from 2025 onwards .

Also, with a provision of the amendment, the regulation of various procedural issues is also foreseen regarding the five-year duty category of firefighters, making special mention of the provision for a five-year extension of the term of office of those hired in 2019, who almost all cover permanent positions. With the amendment of Article 15 of Law 3938/2011, added Mr. Tournas, the administration aims at a homogenization of the said category of personnel, in the context of finding a definitive solution to the issue of its inclusion in the permanent firefighting staff. At the same time, the gap created by the transfer of all the employees of the State Aid Directorate, the General Directorate of State Aid and Aid, from the Ministry of National Economy and Finance to the newly established General Secretariat for Natural Disaster Recovery and State Aid, which is under to the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection regarding the payment of the incentive to achieve fiscal goals.

The payment of the incentive is extended to all employees in the Directorate of State Aid, it is clarified that this will continue to be paid to them for the whole of 2023, while a special procedure is foreseen, by way of derogation and for a certain period of time, i.e. until December 31, 2024, regarding with the secondments and transfers of employees of the General Secretariat of Natural Disaster Recovery and State Aid of the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection, for which the prior consent of the Minister is required.

The president of Freedom of Navigation, Zoe Konstantopoulou with her intervention she stated that “in principle we consider this first initiative positive, in terms of the seasonal fire fighters. However, we insist on covering all the vacant organizational positions and on the utilization of all the human potential that for years now has offered his life self-sacrificingly for civil protection and forest firefighting and overall for the protection of human life” and he reserved himself to position himself specifically for the whole of the amendment, after having studied it thoroughly.

SYRIZA’s parliamentary representative Christos Giannoulis reserving to study the provisions, he asked to be informed “if they will be fully integrated into the country’s anti-fire protection and not only that, for the period we are preparing to go through.

The deputy minister replied that “these amendments are coming now and are in the context of the preparation of the fire fighting season. Preparations have already started since November. There is enough time to move on for seasonal firefighters as well. A strategic plan is being implemented and based on this we will continue this year as well.”