Greek government creates Civil Protection Ministry after wildfires


After a series of devastating forest fires, a Civil Protection Ministry has been created in Greece, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said in Athens on Tuesday.

He also announced a change at the helm of the Health Ministry. According to media reports, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wants the new minister to take a different approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

The Civil Protection Ministry is to bring together the numerous authorities and institutions responsible for dealing with wildfires, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.

The extensive forest fires earlier this summer led to coordination problems, for which Mitsotakis subsequently apologized in parliament.

The government has appointed Evangelos Apostolakis as civil protection minister. He was previously defence minister in the left-wing government of Alexis Tsipras.

The appointment is considered an overture to the opposition, which has repeatedly called for important issues such as environmental disasters to be dealt with across the political aisle.

The Health Ministry will henceforth be headed by Athanasios Plevris, a lawyer and close confidante of the head of government. Mitsotakis reportedly was not satisfied with the progress of the vaccination campaign.

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